Frank Mir turned out Todd Duffee's lights in San Diego. | Photo: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC /Getty
Frank Mir is constructing quite the late-career resurgence as a knockout artist.
The 36-year-old former champion earned his second-consecutive KO victory in the Octagon, as he dropped Todd Duffee with a short counter left hand just 73 seconds into their UFC Fight Night “Mir vs. Duffee” headlining encounter at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego on Wednesday night.
“I went out there and beat a young stud at what he does best, which is throw leather – throw explosive, throw hard,” he said. “I fought a little emotional. I usually don’t do that. I try to be crafty. But I bit down on my mouthpiece, and I was just swinging for the fences.”
Both heavyweights went for broke from the outset, which figured to be an advantage for the 29-year-old Duffee, who has finished the majority of his career triumphs inside of a round. While Duffee certainly landed his share, the rock ‘em-sock ‘em approach ultimately cost him.
“When someone’s coming at you like a bull you can’t back up on them; you’ve got to come forward,” Mir said. “The knock on me in my career has been that I start slow.”
As the slugfest continued, a comically wide right hook from Duffee gave Mir (18-9, 16-9 UFC) all the opening he needed. The Las Vegas resident easily avoided the offering and caught his foe flush on the chin with a counter left hook. Duffee (9-3, 3-2 UFC) was rendered unconscious upon impact and tumbled face first to the mat, giving Mir his 13th finish in UFC competition.
“I expected to be more technical tonight… I showcased a different aspect of me,” Mir said. “Which now people are going to have to wonder: I can come out there, I can fight hard with the young bulls, but I can still be the matador.”
Ferguson Dazzling in Decision Win Over Thompson
If Tony Ferguson wasn’t already established as a 155-pound contender, he is now.
The Ultimate Fighter 13 winner gave a masterful performance against Josh Thomson in the evening’s co-main event, earning the signature victory of his career to date via lopsided unanimous verdict (30-27, 30-27, 30-26). It was Ferguson’s sixth consecutive triumph, tying him with Khabib Nurmagomedov for the second longest active streak in the lightweight division.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the fight was that Thomson made it to the final horn. Ferguson’s length and creativity gave Thomson (20-7, 1-2 UFC) fits throughout, but “El Cucuy” truly turned the tide in the second round, when he dropped the Strikeforce veteran with vicious right elbow. From there, it was all Ferguson, as he battered Thomson with punches and elbows on the ground, threatened with submissions and generally had his way offensively. Through it all, Thomson never wilted and continued to fire back with reckless abandon.
Thomson continued to battle in round three, but Ferguson stayed in control, landing elbows and rocking his foe with a knee to the sternum late in the frame. Thomson hasn’t tasted victory in the Octagon since a TKO of Nate Diaz at UFC on Fox 7, a duration of 816 days.
Holm Takes Clear-Cut Decision vs. Reneau
Holly Holm is starting to find her groove in the Octagon.
While the Jackson-Wink MMA product is still looking for her first finish within the Las Vegas-based promotion, Holm was much more dominant in her sophomore outing, taking a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 29-28) over Marion Reneau in a featured women’s bantamweight encounter.
“I feel like I showed a little more from the last fight, but I still want to show more,” Holm (9-0, 2-0 UFC) said. “I always want to finish when I get in there, but I’ll keep working hard for you guys.”
Though her performance drew scattered boos from those in attendance, Holm was never really threatened. She controlled distance throughout the contest, pressuring and cutting off the cage when necessary. With Reneau (6-2, 2-1 UFC) reluctant to pull the trigger, “The Preacher’s Daughter” racked up a 65-to-26 advantage in significant strikes, landing her usual toolbox of kicks and gradually increasing the volume of her attacks as the fight advanced.
Reneau’s only meaningful moments -- two attempts to jump guard -- resulted in the Californian being slammed to the canvas by Holm, who held a significant size and strength advantage. “The Preacher’s Daughter” did her best to end with a flourish, but her final rapid-fire flurry of punches and head kicks at the end of round three wasn’t enough to get the finish.
““I wish I had done that a little sooner,” Holm said. “It’s never perfect for me, but it makes me want to go back into the gym and improve tomorrow.”
Gamburyan Spoils Jorgensen’s Bantamweight Return
Manny Gamburyan was too big, too strong and too powerful for Scott Jorgensen.
Gamburyan (15-8, 6-6 UFC) landed multiple takedowns, won the majority of the grappling exchanges and connected with heavy punches to capture a unanimous decision triumph (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) over Jorgensen (15-11, 4-7 UFC), who was making his return to the bantamweight division after a 1-3 stint at 125 pounds.
“The Anvil” was at his best in the opening stanza, as he dropped Jorgensen with a right hand and landed four takedown attempts on the former Boise State University wrestler. Jorgensen hung tough, but he had trouble getting anything consistent going against the hard-hitting Gamburyan, who consistently landed the most significant blows of the matchup.
“I planned to knock him out but I couldn’t do it. Jorgensen’s a tough guy,” said Gamburyan, who won his second straight fight.
Lee Chokes Out Moontasri, Wins Fourth Straight
Kevin Lee continues to establish momentum in the lightweight division, as he won his fourth straight fight with a first-round submission of James Moontasi in a featured 155-pound clash. “The Motown Phenom” secured a rear-naked choke to bring an end to the proceedings at the 2:57 mark of the frame.
A former collegiate wrestler, Lee (11-1, 4-1 UFC) backed Moontasri (8-3, 1-2 UFC) to the fence while managing to steer clear of his foe’s unorthodox offerings on the feet. From there, it was simply a matter of Lee imposing his will. The 22-year-old eventually closed the distance on Moontasri, forced his way into the clinch and suplexed his opponent to the floor. From there, he locked in a body triangle and gradually slid his arm underneath Moontasri’s neck to elicit the tapout.
“Once I get that squeeze on it it’s all over,” Lee said. “It’s my fourth win in a row, so maybe I’ll start to get some of that respect that I deserve.”
Jouban Outguns Dwyer in Entertaining Battle
Alan Jouban’s aggressive tendencies got him into trouble, then saved him in an action-packed welterweight showdown against Matt Dwyer.
Penalized a point for landing an illegal knee to the head in the opening round, Jouban turned up the heat down the stretch against his Canadian opponent, winning a unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27) in a bout filled with offensive fireworks. Jouban (12-3, 3-1 UFC) left an indelible stamp on the fight at the end of the second period, when he landed a cartwheel kick that rocked his lanky foe as the horn sounded. If more time remained, Dwyer (8-3, 1-2 UFC) might have been done.
“I was trying to be the first one to land it, so I’m happy I got it off,” Jouban said.
Jouban, who stalked the 6-foot-4 Dwyer throughout and had notable success attacking the body, sealed his win by grounding his adversary with a little more than one minute to go in the bout. Dwyer had his moments, most notably catching Jouban off balance with a well-timed right hand in the opening frame, but he often found himself on the losing end of exchanges.
Sicilia Outgrapples Short-Notice Foe Meza
Sam Sicilia adopted a different approach to dispatch Yaotzin Meza.
The Sikjitsu representative, who had earned three of his first four Octagon triumphs via knockout or technical knockout, grappled his way to a unanimous decision triumph (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) over Meza (21-10, 2-3 UFC) in a featherweight matchup. Sicilia (15-5, 5-4 UFC) has now won three of his last four contests in the Octagon.
While the heavy-handed Washington native was unable to land the kill shot on the feet, he consistently threatened with chokes throughout the fight while thwarting the majority of Meza’s takedown attempts. The MMA Lab product, who replaced Doo Ho Choi on short notice, had Sicilia in peril with a tight guillotine in the final round, but “The Ultimate Fighter 15” veteran was eventually able to escape and ride out the victory.
Andrade Bullies, Batters Moras
Jessica Andrade rebounded from an upset loss to Marion Reneau in emphatic fashion, as she punished Sarah Moras both on the feet and on the mat en route to a clear-cut unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) triumph in a 135-pound tilt. The victory, Andrade’s fourth, moves the Brazilian into a tie with Alexis Davis for second-most among UFC women’s bantamweights.
Save for the bout’s 20 final seconds, Andrade (13-4, 4-2 UFC) was never really threatened. She rocked Moras (4-2, 1-1 UFC) with combinations in standup exchanges and repeatedly took her foe to the mat, where she passed guard consistently and unloaded with elbows and hammerfists.
By round three, Moras’ face was a bloody mess, but she somehow remained in the fight. Her lone chance at victory came when Andrade failed on a throw attempt, allowing the Canadian to take her back and secure both hooks. With Moras riding piggyback and attempting to sink in the rear-naked choke, Andrade wagged her finger in defiance as time expired.
Yahya Holds Off Kanehara, Takes Split Verdict
Rani Yahya rode takedowns and top control to a split-decision triumph over Deep and Sengoku veteran Masanori Kanehara in a bantamweight scrap. Judges Michael Bell and Mike Beltran saw it 29-28 for the Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace, while Mark Smith submitted a 29-28 scorecard in favor of Kanehara.
Yahya (21-8, 6-2 UFC) landed all four of his takedowns in a strong opening stanza, but Kanehara (25-12-5, 1-1 UFC) remained active from his back throughout the contest, connecting on 136 total strikes, according to FightMetric.com. However, Yahya was able to hold his own in early exchanges by consistently firing off one-two combinations.
The grappling-heavy approach caused Yahya to fade badly in the final period. The Brazilian spent much of the frame unsuccessfully clinging to his foe’s leg in hopes of landing a takedown. Kanehara, meanwhile, had Yahya reeling in the waning moments with some hard shots to the body, but it was not quite enough to sway the scorecards.
Strickland Cruises Past Araujo
Backed by a dominant first round, California native Sean Strickland cruised to a unanimous verdict over Igor Araujo in a preliminary welterweight clash. Judges Smith and Wade Vierra both scored it 30-27, while Michael Bell had 30-26 -- all in favor of Strickland.
The 24-year-old appeared to be on the verge of a finish in the opening stanza, as he rocked Araujo (25-8, 2-2 UFC) with an elbow and then swarmed with accurate punches near the fence to put his opponent on the defensive. From there, Strickland (16-1, 3-1 UFC) attacked with purposeful ground-and-pound, but the Jackson-Wink MMA product was able to survive until the final horn.
Strickland’s pace slowed over the final 10 minutes, but he was still able to land more accurate punches while landing takedowns in each round to seal the victory.
Casey Outpoints Alcantara After Year-Long Absence
Kevin Casey captured a methodical unanimous decision triumph over Ildemar Alcantara in his first appearance in more than year. All three judges scored the middleweight bout 30-27 in favor of the 34-year-old Black House representative, who was suspended for failing a drug test at UFC 175.
In a matchup marked by periods of inactivity, it was Casey (9-3, 1-1 UFC) who was able to author the fight’s most significant moments. He landed with more frequency and accuracy on the feet, and likely banked the first and third frames by finishing each in top position. Alcantara (21-8, 4-3 UFC), meanwhile, lacked the sense of urgency necessary to make up ground on the judges’ scorecards.
Lyman Good Topples Andrew Craig in Octagon Debut
Ex-Bellator MMA champion Lyman Good had a successful Octagon debut, as he earned a technical knockout victory over Andrew Craig in a welterweight contest. Good finished his foe off with a barrage of punches from mount at the 3:37 mark of round two.
After a relatively slow-paced opening frame in which Good (19-3, 1-0 UFC) controlled much of the action with his jab, Craig (9-3, 3-4 UFC) began to find success with elbows and knees in the clinch in the second stanza. However, Craig became overzealous with his offense, and Good was able to drop him with a short counter right hand as the Texan attempted to land another elbow from short range. From there, Good quickly moved to mount and poured on the punches until referee Jason Herzog was forced to halt the bout.
Craig, who was making his first UFC appearance at 170 pounds, has lost four of his last five fights.